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Even as this recession eroded salaries and increased unemployment, top-notch
virtualization and VMware engineers have defied the trend, remaining
in high demand and getting six-figure salaries.

And while certifications don’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll get that kind
of a deal—experience and skill factor in as well—they will help land that job or
contract.

To meet the demand for knowledge about VMware, the company is taking its
existing certification program a step further, developing something it is
calling the VMware IT Academy in partnership with two-year academic institutions, the
company says.

The program effectively reduces the price of gaining the company’s entry level certification — VMware Certified Professional — from $5,000 to $10,000 down to a range of $3,000 to $5000, depending on the geography and skill level the student pursues.

"One of our main objectives is to proliferate virtualization knowledge and skills out there in the marketplace as much as we can," Enis Konuk, vice president of worldwide technical services at VMware told Channel Insider.

"We want to get people incentivized around increasing skills around virtualization," he said. "When you look at salary surveys out there, you can get a 15 to 19 percent higher salary if you have virtualization skills."

According to VMware, the Academy program equips students with VMware technical skills
to complement their chosen field of study. The program also provides free
access to training and certification for instructors and offers discounted
course materials and certification vouchers for students. VMware is in the
process of building these relationships.

VMware currently has negotiated partnerships with 30 two-year academic institutions, most of them in the United States. The company plans to expand the program around the world and double the number of partners.

VMware’s goal is to create a relationship with academic institutions to help
their students qualify for VMware certifications such as VMware Certified
Professional (VCP). The VCP
certification includes VMware vSphere 4 and is designed for systems
administrators, system operators, systems engineers and consultants.

VMware’s VMware Certified Design Expert (VCDX) takes it a step further as an
advanced certification for architects and consults who plan and design VMware
enterprise deployments. These certification courses are offered through VMware
and VMware Authorized
Training Centers
(VATCs).